How to ruin your knitting the right way

Interesting discovery: in the past few months, I’ve made two projects that deliberately incorporated ruining your knitting.

You may remember the waterfall scarf:

That lacy pattern down the center is formed by creating a run in the knitting. If you’ve ever had (or seen) a run in a pair of nylons, that’s the same thing. Because knitting is formed by loops pulled through other loops, if you leave a loop unanchored, say by failing to bind it off or just by missing the stitch in the course of knitting it, the loops will successively pull free from one another and create a long gap.

A waterfall scarf is created by binding it off “wrong” and leaving some live stitches at the top, which you then work free all the way down. Another piece would be ruined; here it makes the scarf beautiful.

And yesterday, I finished a pair of French Press Slippers:

They’re lumpy and awkward, but that’s my fault rather than the fault of the pattern. With these, you knit them up at a tremendous size, maybe fourteen or fifteen inches long. The kids had fun sticking these gianormous slippers on their feet.

And then…

…and then you throw them into the washing machine with hot water and a bunch of towels. And an hour later, you pull them out shrunken down, the stitches all fuzzed up into one another, and the fabric stiff rather than drapey.

This is called felting, and most people have done it with a sweater they accidentally threw in the wrong laundry load, ruining the sweater (unless they intended it for a hobbit who never wanted to bend his arms again.)

So again, we’re deliberately mistreating a knitted thing in order to make it pretty (or, in my case, useful, since I don’t think they’re pretty. Kiddo#2, however, says they’re very pretty. She’s got rose-colored glasses, kind of like a mom wearing an awkward hat.)

And in my own demented way, I wondered if there isn’t something to this in a spiritual sense. We’re told that God will make all things work together for His glory, and that God brings good out of evil. Maybe in the knitting of our souls, God does something similar. This broken world comes along and ruins us in some way, only when we’ve overcome it or even just carry forward with it, what remains is more beautiful, more useful.